Queen’s honour for Portrush drama group stalwart

A Portrush man has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to drama.

Brian Logan
Brian Logan
Brian Logan

Ballywillan Drama Group stalwart Brian Logan has received the BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for “services to drama and the performing arts in Northern Ireland”.

Involved in theatre and entertainments, both professional and amateur, for 52 years, Brian has a comprehensive and valuable knowledge and expertise in many aspects of drama and the performing arts in Northern Ireland having directed, produced, designed lighting and sets for over 200 plays, musicals and pantomimes.

He was literally born into the world of theatre with his first “appearance” onstage 66 years ago when his pregnant mother, Kathleen, appeared as Dandini in Cinderella in 1954. With both parents heavily involved in amateur dramatics Brian’s interest and enthusiasm was fired from a very young age.

It was in 1968, aged 14, that he began his long association with Portrush’s Ballywillan Drama Group. His first ‘job’ was operating one of the follow spots for their January pantomimes in Portrush Town Hall, and, over the years, Brian climbed the ‘theatrical ladder’, earning his stripes in many departments, including acting and ultimately rose to producer and director.

He is very proud of Ballywillan’s standing within the musical theatre Community on the island of Ireland and of his part in steering the group towards its success. Brian is their resident Artistic Director and also holds the posts of Lighting and Set Designer. He has directed 28 consecutive musicals for Ballywillan.

One of his personal achievements is seeing the young people he has nurtured and encouraged, either onstage or in technical areas, progress to professional careers.

Brian had a long association with the, now sadly wound up, Portrush Players, a group who solely staged plays, where, in due course, he became Director,
Producer and Lighting Designer.

Outside of his hometown societies, Brian has had a long career working with drama groups, musical societies, theatre groups and schools across the land
where he directed, produced, designed sets and lighting for numerous plays, musicals, pantomimes over five decades.

Apart from his theatrical work he has designed and provided lighting, sound and technical facilities for many forms of entertainment including military tattoos, musical tours of Ireland of many international and national artistes, fireworks displays, council summer entertainment programmes, tourist attraction installations and trade shows.

Brian is an established Lighting Designer, being a professional member of The Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) in London. Various examples of his lighting and set designs have won awards. In 2018 Brian was a recipient of a People of the Year Award for his contribution to Arts and Culture.

Brian said: “I am humbled to receive this honour acknowledging my work in drama and the performing arts. My career in theatre and entertainments across Northern Ireland and beyond seems to have flown by and I have enjoyed every minute of it. There is a great feeling of satisfaction and pride in watching audiences react to a production which you helped create.

“I want to thank those people who inspired me during my formative years and all those who have worked with me over the decades staging great shows and

“Especially I need to thank all my friends in Ballywillan Drama Group who have supported me over the years. Working together we have created many wonderful pieces of drama and theatre, encouraged and developed our youth and entertained hundreds of thousands of audience members. As the saying goes – without you none of this would have been possible!

“Finally, a word of thanks and love to my best friend and wife, Sharon, who has been by my side helping and encouraging me.”